Many people look at truckers as primarily over the road haulers, and granted, many truckers in the truck driving industry are in those situations. But there is another breed of truckers out there that many people may not readily think of. Those are the farmers who bring their goods to market. They haul loads, just like any other trucker, and also must obey maximum weight regulations too.
If you don’t know, maximum weight for semi trucks is 80,000 pounds. There was a trucking legislation amendment on the board, called the Safe, Flexible and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act amendment, that wanted to add a sixth axle and raise the maximum weight limit up to 91,000 pounds. It was sponsored primarily by Midwest representatives in the farm belt.
What the Amendment was All About
Farmers haul their goods to either local co-ops or a rail shuttle loading facility. If farmers could boost their weight limit an extra 11,000 pounds, they could, potentially make fewer trips and spend more time on the farm. Certainly, this would have been an industry wide amendment to the regulations, but it was primarily targeted toward farmers who travel short to medium distances with their goods.
The railroad industry lobbied hard against adoption of the bill, saying that the existing infrastructure, like bridges and roads would need to be modified to hold the extra weight, and that taxpayers would inevitably foot the bill.
But this trucking legislation was really targeted towards farmers and getting their goods to market faster and more efficiently. They generally travel much shorter distances and would not need much, or any, infrastructure improvement. But for now, we’ll just dig our heals in and work to get it passed the next time it comes up.
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